Tag Archives: Mass media

The Media Research Industry has More Opportunities Than Ever Before

Insights have become a vehicle for influencing marketing and
ultimately, the world. That’s why next in our Insights as a Vehicle for
Influence interview series, we sat down with Sam Ford, a media executive,
consultant, and research affiliate with MIT Comparative Media Studies/Writing. In
our conversation, he shed some light on how the media industry has changed and
how media companies can do a better job at reaching the ‘new age’ consumer.
What is the state of
the media research industry in 2017?
Media research is in an interesting state at the moment. On
the one hand, there’s more to potentially research than ever before. Quantitatively,
there’s more to research than ever before, and organizations are finding new
ways to collect, synthesize, and make sense of all the data they are bringing
However, with that influx of data, there still remains a
certain surety in what it’s saying, without necessarily enough questioning of
whether we’re asking the right questions. I feel like we’ve spent a lot of time
in the media industries gathering the data that is easiest to gather, or that
feels the most similar to what we’ve always gathered, leading organizations to
continue to be driven by impressions-and-reach-based models, when they may
often not be serving the needs of media companies, advertisers, or audiences
all that well.
Meanwhile, there are more opportunities than ever to do
great qualitative research, from audience experience projects to netnography,
but organizations often have not prioritized/invested in these methods. Many
organizations are making deeper investments into digital research, but all too
often the teams aren’t connected in the ways they should be to maximize
effectiveness and minimize redundancy. And, most importantly of all, the sort
of pattern recognition most important for good insights work may not be
positioned in many media companies in a way that allows it to contribute all it
can. After all, gathering data, qualitative insights, benchmarking, and
thoughts about future trends are all only useful if there are ways all of this
is being synthesized, analyzed, and brought to the table for key decisions being
made across the organization.
What have been the
biggest changes in the industry since you started your career?
I’ve spent years on different sides of these questions. I
began my career as a journalist. For the past 12 years, I’ve tackled these
questions most consistently from an academic’s perspective, looking at these
questions from outside the day-to-day needs of a particular media organization.
I have spent many years consulting with big brands from a marketing and PR
standpoint. And I spent much of the past two years working at a media company
operating in the network television, cable television, digital publishing, and
digital video distribution spaces.
Across all those vantage points, I’ve seen an industry
weathering a prolonged period of massive change, largely by finding ways to
hold as closely as it can to an ongoing semblance of normalcy’which is to be
expected in an industry where businesses can never truly close up shop. We’ve
seen an acceptance that you can’t fight change throughout the media industries,
but it has come along with a desire to cling to the broadcast model.

Have the influx of
social media and mobile made your job easier or harder?
Media companies, and advertisers, used to have very few
methods to really understand and listen to their audiences. We have all sorts
of new methods to be able to do that now. So, rather than having to create
aggregate stand-ins like customer segmentation profiles for our audience, we
have more access to those real people than ever before.
However, with that overabundance of information, we’ve
strangely found ourselves in a similar position as when we didn’t have enough
information’relying too often on ways of understanding audiences that may not
be the most insightful. In this case, it’s what’s easiest to collect or feel
concrete about, in a world where the overabundance of potential information
gives us the feeling of chaos.
How has the media
consumer changed in the past few years?
I don’t suppose people have changed all that much, in the
sense that the way audiences are using technology often mirrors things people
have always wanted to do but couldn’t necessarily do so as easily, or’if they
did’happened in ways that media companies or advertisers couldn’t easily
detect. People want to keep media content. People want to share media content.
People want to talk back to media content. People like to have as much control
as they can over their choices. Now that those options are becoming easier,
viewers have to think even more deeply about how they want to engage with
different types of programming.
If I can watch a series at my own pace, what do I want that
pace to be? Do I watch different types of programming at different types of
paces? When do I want to engage more deeply with media content, versus when do
I want to engage more passively? As media organizations put more effort into
engaging active audiences, it leaves those audiences to think about when,
where, and how they want to participate.

How can media companies do a better job
reaching the new age consumer?
I think we are only scratching the surface of what we can do
to really resonate with audiences. Most importantly, I believe, is finding as
many ways as possible to put ourselves in the shoes of the audience members who
are coming to us on purpose. As we get away from reach metrics as the
cornerstone of our business models, it allows us to think about how we as an
industry build around the sort of CRM models that drive subscription-based businesses’that
lead to fostering an active audience base engaging with you on purpose, and
with purpose.
No matter what type of media company you are, it seems that
this is the most important, stable, and lucrative part of the audience, but the
one that business models have all too often driven companies to neglect and
take for granted. When we are imagining each month’s digital traffic goals or
viewership goals as tabula rasa, then everything becomes focused on driving as
much general-audience interest as possible in what we do.
And for those organizations that do, for instance,
serialized programming or subscription models, there’s still a lot of work to
be done to really understand and think about everything the media company does
from the shoes of that active audience. How do they want to engage with the
content? What else do they want from the media brand? Why do they become
proselytizers? How do you identify audiences already engaged in similar content
but who haven’t yet found their way to you? In such a cluttered media landscape
as we have today, we can’t take for granted that people will quickly find us.
What is the biggest
challenge in the media industry today?
We have machines built around pushing what’s on/coming out
now, not for maintaining the longevity of content that has the potential for a
long shelf-life. In an era where a good portion of media content is available
for on-demand engagement later, we have to think about how we support machines
that are much better at monetizing media products over time, thinking about
investments in content for which the ROI may come slowly but which may continue
on for years, if supported in the right way.
We see glimpses of this in how subscription services think
about investment in original content production’and I recommend everyone read
Amanda Lotz’s new treatise Portals as
a way to dig more deeply into these questions. But media businesses, and the
research teams that support them, have to think about how to recalibrate the
machines we’ve built over the last few decades to these new types of questions.
Where do you see
media research moving in 5 years?
I hope to see media researchers continue to make great
strides in helping organizations create meaningful media texts which
demonstrate an understanding of what audiences want and how audiences want to
engage them. I hope to see research and insights work, as a function, taken
increasingly serious by corporate decision-makers who need the expertise that
the best of the research & insights field have to offer.
In an era where so much remains up in the air about the
media industries, and where trust in media companies has been a topic of common
popular discussion, it’s up to media researchers to think about the role they
can play as catalysts for a discussion about how we build models that serve
content producers, media companies, advertisers, and audiences better than what
we have right now. If we don’t take advantage of the current liminal moment for
the television industry (See M.J. Robinson’s work on this in the forthcoming
book, Television
on Demand
), then I don’t know what will make us seriously tackle these
questions until models start falling apart.

Sam Ford is a media
executive, consultant, and research affiliate with MIT Comparative Media
Studies/Writing. He also teaches in the Popular Culture Studies Program at
Western Kentucky University. In 2015-2016, he founded and ran the
Univision/Fusion Media Group Center for Innovation and Engagement, as VP,
Innovation & Engagement, for Fusion. He is also co-author of the 2013 book, Spreadable
Media: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture. More on his
work here.

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Ryan Polachi is a contributing
writer concentrating his focus on Marketing, Finance and Innovation. He can be
reached at rpolachi@IIRUSA.com.

TV is a Key Player in The Future of Media Planning

The Television has been homes for over 60 years and it’s still not time it out just yet. Thanks to the drastically changing ways we consume content these days, TV advertising is at a crossroads: advertisers are now planning integrated TV and online video advertising campaigns.
Today, TV is one of the fastest-moving areas of advertising, with new campaigns aiming to capture the massive opportunity of linear TV, smart-TV, and online video viewers. Advertisers are looking for holistic campaigns that capitalize on the opportunities of engaging with consumers across multiple screens.
According to Videology’s head of global TV strategies, Rhys McLachlan, consumers are there, the data is there, online video has matured as an advertising media, and the foundations for a TV market have been established. He shared with Media Tel some key points that advertisers should know when creating integrating TV ad campaigns.
Consumer habits have changed TV. While conventional TV is still a powerful medium, it is becoming more supplemented by all manner of consumption across a multitude of devices. The majority of viewing experiences are delivered to the consumer over IP, and this means the advertising route to viewers is more sophisticated, dynamic, and trackable.
There is data to create opportunities. Data enables the delivery of the right content at the right time to the right audience. By combining online with TV viewing data, it is possible to create single-source/multi-screen metrics ‘ giving advertisers the statistical and behavioral information they need to deliver campaigns that incorporate TV and are optimized by online.

TV is the future.These are early days for addressable TV as a key element of the media-landscape, but this as a huge opportunity. By making use of data and bolstering that with platform data from the online video space, advertisers can plan their TV buying based on the audience that’s watching a show. 

Live from #MediaInsight: How Digital Has Disrupted Consumer Behavior Forever

This morning on the last day of our inaugural Media Insights & Engagement, James McQuivey, Ph.D., VP, Principal Analyst, FORRESTER, and Author, DIGITAL DISRUPTION, spoke to us about how How Digital Has Disrupted Consumer Behavior Forever.

The consumer has already been disrupted. Will you join them? It’s now necessary from the business side to create these experiences and relations in a way that has been unprecedented before.

You must join them and disrupt yourself.

Digital disrupters raise the bar:

they build better experiences
create stronger customer relationships
deliver efficiency, doing it faster than competitors

 Digital Disruption Economics:

More people empowered, more ideas, going to market, operating at a 1/10th of the cost with 100x the power.

Media Industry examples: more people create and distribute content for free, creating a super abundance of content options. (not replacing content, but enhancing the offerings)

Whoever has the relationship with the viewer, wins.

To participate you must digitally disrupt your customer relationship.

Media companies will want to distribute to these screens.

  • Retailer will want to use them to sell products
  • Manufacturers will want a direct connections
  • Platforms will try to own the whole experience

Who wins the relationships? Because in the end that’s who wins.

It’s a senior level decision to get every one ready and prepared to do begin connecting at every customer touch point.


Valerie RussoFormerly a senior copy editor at Thomson Reuters, a research editor at AOL,  and a senior web publicist at Hachette Book GroupValerie M. Russo is editor at large of The Front End of Innovation BlogThe Market Research Event BlogThe World Future Trends Tumblr, the Digital Impact Blog, and also blogs at Literanista.net. She is the innovation lead and senior social media strategist for the Marketing and Business Strategy Division of the Institute for International Research, an Informa LLC., and her poetry was published in Regrets Only on sale at the MOMA Gift Shop. Her background is in Anthropology and English Literature. You can reach her at vrusso@iirusa.com or @Literanista.

Who’s Meeting at the World’s Best Insights Event for the Media Industry?

…it’s being called the next TMRE. That’s right, industry leaders have dubbed The Media Insights & Engagement Conference as the ‘World’s Best Insights Event for the Media Industry’. Don’t miss out on this opportunity!

For three days, next month, gather with the best minds in the industry to unlock new insights to drive growth and influence smarter decision making, specifically as it relates to media engagement. Challenge your thinking, accelerate new ideas and create the partnerships of tomorrow.  Download the brochure for full agenda.

See who’s already signed up to attend:
A+E Networks
AMC Networks
BBM Canada
BET Networks
CBS Corporation
Comcast Spotlight
Creative Artists Agency
CW Television Network
DirecTV Latin America
Discovery Communications
Dragon Rouge Innovation
Dreyfus Media Advisors
eCGGlobal Solutions
Eurodata TV Worldwide
Feldman Research Lab
Fidelity Investments
Food Network
Frank N. Magid & Associates
Fuse Networks LLC
Future Research Consulting
GfK Media
Google Consumer Surveys
Hallmark Channel
HBO Latin America
HUB Entertainment Research
IFC & Sundance Channel
Ipsos MediaCT
Leichtman Research
Lieberman Research Worldwide
Luth Research
MD Anderson Cancer Center
Miner & Co Studio
MTV Networks
National Geographic Society
Nielsen Co
Nielsen Entertainment Television
Nielsen NRG
Norman Hecht Research Inc
Participant Media
Radius Global Market Research
Rentrak Corporation
RLS Media Consulting LLC
Sci Futures
Scripps Networks
SNL Kagan
Sony Computer Entertainment America
Sony Pictures Television
The Intelligence Group
The Nielsen Company
The Oprah Winfrey Network
The Social Guide
The Weather Channel
Time Inc.
Time Warner Inc
Turner Broadcasting
TV Media Insights
Univision Communications
Viacom Media Networks
Vision Critical
Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment
Warner Brothers Media Research & Insights
Weiner, Edrich, Brown

Join us in January and take the first steps to move your industry forward.